At first glance, the phrase “data storytelling” seems like an oxymoron. It conjures up images of the well-known Star Trek android (or his equally logical precursor, Mr. Spock) sitting in the garret, weeping over a computer as he fashions the closing for his latest book.
Sure, your numbers people won’t end up being likely to suggest a thrilling hero’s journey story to market your company’s latest widget. Nevertheless , your content marketing teams may use the data they generate to come up with a genius brand story.
It’s not just your internal analytics plus customer data you can use in order to dream up a successful marketing campaign. Combine them with the numbers your subject matter experts generate, plus you’ll have a wealth of storytelling material that can fuel your articles with the punch only definitive proof can give.
- Data storytelling gets to both emotion-driven and reason-driven audiences.
- Make use of internally generated data, along with external data, to support your own conclusions.
- Scatter visuals throughout your content to maintain interest and maximize retention.
- Support your conclusion with a rational debate as well as data.
Data Storytelling Catches Both the Emotional and Rational Spheres
I can see your reaction now. “But haven’t you always preached that your audience’s hearts , not their mind, drive buying decisions? ” True enough.
After all, statistics display that the emotional portion of the human brain processes info in 1/5 the time the rational sphere requires.
Other studies disclose similar results, such as the oft-cited Nielsen study , which showed that ads concentrating on an audience’s emotions triggered a 23% boost within the product’s sales.
And don’t forget the Quaics (originally Temkin) research. It showed that will emotion motivates 80% of consumers to trust a brand and 86% of them to make a buy.
Yet while an emotional connection with your potential customers and customers is essential, so is the data behind your findings. At the top of the sales channel, a recent Deloitte study shows, “rational considerations…dominate. ”
Apparently, potential customers use data and cause to eliminate brands for thing to consider. For that reason, it pays to place an emotional story around data, showing a logical relationship between your numbers and your summary.
It’s the very best of both worlds.
So , What Kinds of Data Should We Use to Create Our Case?
Of course , you should start with your own personal analytics and customer data. These data, including your social media marketing and content analytics , give you a picture from the prospects and customers you’re trying to reach.
But don’t stop generally there. Whatever your product or service, you will likely have subject matter experts that have done extensive study and testing on their own work, such as:
- Healthcare providers
Additionally , you might think about extending your reach into your target customer base to gather even more data. Customer surveys, along with reports from your product sales and customer support teams, can offer valuable insights into your customers’ thought processes.
Don’t forget to gather data from in-person conversations, emails, and social media chats. Often , these one-on-one interactions give you a glance into your customers’ and prospects’ thoughts more than anything else.
Using internal data offers you an edge over the competition since it yields unique information that only you are able to provide. If those information represent a breakthrough development in your industry, using them inside a compelling story can propel your brand into thought leadership territory.
While original research – and the data it produces – is a critical supply of information, it helps to have information that support your conclusion. Search out well-documented publications that will cover the topics you wish to write about to find the evidence you have to prove your case. These types of sources could include:
- Academic documents
- Government magazines
- Research firms’ publications
- White-colored papers
- Business organizations
- Well-researched news stories
- Well-researched books, films, plus videos
- Quotations from interviews with industry experts
Be sure to include links to your sources so that your audience can read the information for themselves. Usually, individuals considering a major purchase may wish to see the reasoning behind the particular conclusions your sources create.
As in most forms of communication that attempt to persuade another person to take action, make use of original sources as much as possible. It might take a little extra time, but it is certainly well worth the effort in creating audience trust.
Use Rational Arguments to Connect the Dots
As a content marketer, you’re used to emphasizing the psychological side of content creation. Sure, you cite statistics every now and then, but your usual goal is to identify your audience’s discomfort points and create content that helps them conquer those difficulties.
Fair enough, but often we neglect the rational side. Although the Captain Kirks and Dr . McCoys among us follow their hearts, some of the decision-makers we need to persuade actually think more like Information or Mr. Spock.
But data alone won’t convince them. You have to connect the dots to exhibit them that there’s the rational basis for your bottom line.
After all, if you go back to your Introductory Logic class in college, the particular “appeal to emotion” is an informal fallacy. Unless there exists a rational argument that undergirds your content, these people won’t buy it.
Therefore , if you haven’t done so recently, review your old Logic 101 textbook to make sure that your data storytelling makes arguments that are each valid and sound.
If you sold yours back to the bookstore meant for pizza money ten years ago, the University of Minnesota has a great open-source book, Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking , available on its site for instant download.
Connect the dots in a way that both touches your audience’s heartstrings and shows your case with an airtight argument. Doing so will reach both the emotional and reasonable segments of your audience.
Now, Blend Your Data and Storytelling Skills for the Killer Brand Story
As MIT Sloan’s Beth Stackpole points out, it’s simply not enough to pull some data, make some visuals, and slap them onto your blog posts. Start by searching the data for a tale.
What do the numbers tell you? How can this information help your prospects and customers solve the kinds of problems that keep them up at night?
Organizing the data with a focus on your target customer can give you an idea showing how you can construct a story across the information. For example , suppose that your own engineers test out your new widget’s performance against 2 of the competitors.
Their own research determines that your company’s widget boosts the efficiency of the machine often used in your own customers’ industry by almost 2 to 1 over your competitors and by 50% on the other.
Does not that suggest the perfect hero’s journey story to you?
Your customer struggles to keep up with the demand for her products. Oh, but if just she could increase her machines’ efficiency!
She searches high and low – and then, voila! She finds out a piece of content that describes that data in ordinary English, with visuals that illustrate your points plus entertain her enough to keep her hooked until the extremely end.
Not just is its conclusion supported by third-party data, yet there are also case studies that demonstrate how your widget’s performance-enhancing properties made a positive change in the bottom line of companies who put your golf widget to work on the assembly line.
That’s data storytelling at its greatest.
Your technical engineers and numbers people did their jobs. Now, it is time to put all the information they generate to work through content that puts everything that work into perspective.
The Elements of Data Storytelling: Beginning, Development, plus Ending
After you’ve identified data that will looks like a great brand story candidate, jot down the storyline that the data suggested: starting, development, and ending.
Create a Rough Draft of the Storyline
If you’re visually oriented, work with a storyboard to sketch out each part of the story. In case you prefer writing, use a tough outline to guide your considering.
Put information in the margins. Include referrals to some of the preliminary data you’ve uncovered and links to where you can find that data.
Do Intensive Research to Support Your Storyline
- Look at your target audience: Start with the customer persona(s) that will best benefit from the information in your tale. Knowing their needs may guide you in your search for supplementary data that support your own conclusion.
- Search for supporting data: Then, search online for both internal and external data that back up your preliminary conclusion. If you need extra research on some issues, task the proper groups to do original research to try your idea.
- Look for contradictory information: If you don’t know what the particular opposition might say, your own story will go up on a use the e-cig of virtual smoke. Searching for contradictory data and discrediting it (be careful here lest you fall sufferer to the siren song of informal fallacies) is essential to proving your case. Arguing that just because 65% of all manufacturers choose your golf widget, other manufacturers should as well, isn’ t valid – it’s the appeal to the bandwagon fallacy. Instead, find out what kinds of gains that 65% realized by using your item.
Start Writing Your Story
Now that you’ve completed the research and planning, it’s time to put it all together. Carrying out a few simple steps will keep your story connects with the correct people and coheres in house with both its facts plus conclusions.
Draw Out a Rough Write of the Content
If your data holds true once you test it against contradictory data, it’s time to start building your own story. Find a hook which will appeal to your target audience plus write compelling copy that will keeps them on the edge of the seat as they look at.
Inject a healthy dose of empathy into your story. Not only does it enable you to call at your audience’s problems with their eye, but the data indicate that will it’s good for business too.
A 2020 Businessolver study showed a direct relationship in between a business’s success as well as the empathy it demonstrated in its operations. Showing that you sympathize with your audience’s situation – so long as you solve the problem which gives rise to the situation – gives you an extra edge in obtaining their business.
Add Visuals towards the Mix
Pictures do two things: They hold a reader’s interest and illustrate information within an easy-to-understand format. Choose infographics that illustrate your data, and also images that evoke feeling in your readers, to reach each your left- and right-brained readers.
As Brain Rules’ Steve Medina points out, pictures help your audience remember more of the information in your content material. When you hear information, you’ll only remember 10% from it three days afterward. In case you show a visual together with the spoken word, they retain 65% of it.
So , if you have a podcasting, consider making it a video display. In longer blog posts, videos add visual pop plus audience interest. As a HubSpot survey shows, 54% of the consumers they interviewed wanted to see a lot more video content from the brands they follow.
Plus, if you’re posting a link for your content on Facebook or other social media (and you should), including an image will certainly net you second . 3 times the engagement as a text-only post. Which includes full-color visuals in your blogs themselves, too, will increase your own readers’ desire to read through to the end simply by 80%.
That is why it’s essential to include visual pop to your information storytelling, especially if your content is highly technical or a deep dive into a complex topic. Incorporating visual guideposts, such as headers, subheaders, and bullet points, helps people mentally organize what they read – even though they only skim it.
Flesh The Content with a Convincing Point and Supporting References
Now’s the time to complete the gaps in your at ease with a well-reasoned argument. Use vivid language that will attract your target audience, but support your claims with a valid argument and authoritative referrals.
Filter Out the particular Noise
Eliminate wordy sentences. Cut out tangential arguments that deviate attention away from your main topic so your brand story marches ahead toward the ending, building up suspense as you go.
Proofread Your Work
Use Grammarly or another content checker to check on your work for typos and grammatical errors. Get a 2nd pair of eyes to look it over, if possible. There’s no substitute for a fresh perspective upon one’s work.
Review Your Argument for Validity and Soundness
Double-check the facts you cite within your content. Then analyze your argument to make sure it has no fallacies, formal or informal. Again, if you have a good editor who can check your work with any logical missteps, all of us highly recommend a final check.
Sound reasoning distinguishes content marketing from simple advertising, where informal fallacies abound.
It is the best of both realms – reaching both reason and emotion with data-fueled brand stories. Crafting high quality content that ticks off all those boxes takes a large amount of work.
It’s well worth the effort, though. The reach drives more wedding, more conversions, and eventually, more revenue – as we’ve shown throughout this post.
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The particular post Data Storytelling: The Path from Insights to Customer Success appeared first upon Marketing Insider Group .